Following the recent trend of COVID-19 development in Nigeria, Anap Foundation COVID-19 Think Tank has advised the Federal Government to reopen the economy fully.
This is just as it recommended that there must be improved regulations and coordination of activities of relevant sectors of the economy such as public transportation, event planning, the hospitality industry, and public worship.
With over 53,000 COVID-19 cases, from about 384,000 tested samples and 1,007 deaths, a case fatality rate of about 2 percent the country is still in the first phase of its response to the virus comprising an initial total lockdown and a partial (eased) lockdown.
The Federal Government through the Presidential Taskforce had recently announced extended ease of lockdown by another four weeks.
While giving its recommendation, Anap Think Tank explained that the odds against a rise in casualty favors sub-Saharan African and as such, there might be a safer atmosphere for countries like Nigeria to thrive under.
“We must now reopen the economy fully as there is a reasonable basis for believing that sub-Saharan Africa will be spared from the worst possible COVID-19. However, absent of disciplined risk mitigation through adherence to personal hygiene, masking, and social distancing when possible, we should plan for and be prepared for clusters and outbreaks. Proactive strategies for identification, containment, and management of these clusters and outbreaks should be put in place.
“Our observation in sub-Saharan Africa is that most infected individuals will survive while the minority will have severe adverse consequences and require hospitalization. Our observation of the Nigerian COVID-19 experience is that one out of 10 infected persons above the age of 50 dies.
“While this age threshold is much lower than the 65-year-old vulnerability for severe disease or death related to COVID-19 described by the World Health Organisation (WHO), this observation may reflect the overall lower age of life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa compared with the western world. We should remain cognizant and vigilant of this age vulnerability threshold in Nigeria as we reopen the economy.”
Anap Think Tank further explained that some level of caution must also be observed in public gatherings like burial, schools, and worship centers.
“Burial protocols released by the NCDC need to be enforced across the country. Currently, many states are ignoring these guidelines.
“All work that can be done from home should be. Preference for virtual meetings should be institutionalized. Larger gatherings should be held outdoors wherever possible. This should be the face of our new normal.
“All remaining curfews nationwide should be lifted immediately.
“Governments at all levels and the private proprietors must invest heavily in the planned reopening of schools across the country if we are to prevent an avoidable disaster. We accept that schools must now be reopened and so the debate must shift to ensuring minimum accompanying measures and installations to help achieve a safe reopening.
“Finally, all remaining local and international travel restrictions should be lifted immediately, with COVID-19 testing for international passengers before departure and upon arrival. Incoming foreigners should be required to have health travel insurance to reduce the risk of their exacerbating our healthcare funding challenges.”